Thursday, May 19, 2022

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US airlines warn of impending 5G flight disruption

10 of the biggest US airlines have warned that the impending switch-on of 5G mobile phone services will cause “major disruption” to flights.

Airlines fear that C-band 5G signals disrupt aircraft navigation systems, especially those used in bad weather. The warning was issued in a letter sent to the US aviation authorities.

They said the launch of Verizon and AT&T 5G mobile phone services, scheduled for Wednesday, would cause a “completely avoidable economic calamity.”

The chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines were joined by others in saying: “Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies”, including vaccine distribution.

Originally sighted and understood by the BBC the letter outlined their urgent concerns. It was sent to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, as well as the head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the chair of the Federal Communications Commission and the director of the National Economic Council.

It’s understood that negotiations are continuing at the highest levels of the US government about what has been described as a “very fluid situation”.

The airlines want 5G signals to be excluded from the approximate two miles of airport runways at affected airports as defined by the FAA on 19 January 2022. This will allow 5G to be deployed while avoiding harmful impacts on the aviation industry, travelling public, supply chain, vaccine distribution, our workforce and broader economy.

In an update on Sunday, the FAA, which oversees aviation safety in the US, said it had “allowed an estimated 45% of the US commercial fleet to conduct low-visibility landings at many airports that use 5G C-band.” to perform”.

The FAA added that it had approved “two radio altimeter models that are installed in a wide variety of Boeing and Airbus planes”.

“Even with these new approvals, flights at some airports may still be affected,” the regulator said.

“The FAA also continues to work with manufacturers to understand how radar altimeter data is used in other flight control systems. Passengers should check with their airlines if weather is forecast at a destination where 5G interference is possible.”

Telephone companies have spent tens of billions of dollars upgrading their networks to embrace 5G technology, which will bring much faster internet services and better connectivity.

There have already been several delays due to aviation concerns, with December and earlier this month launch dates both pushed back.

US wireless industry group CTIA has previously said 5G is safe and accused the airline industry of fear-mongering and falsifying facts.

“A delay will cause real harm. Pushing back deployment one year would subtract $50bn in economic growth, just as our nation recovers and rebuilds from the pandemic,” said CTIA chief executive Meredith Attwell Baker in a blog post in November.

The TBN team is a well establish group of technology industry professionals with backgrounds in IT Systems, Business Communications and Journalism.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
The TBN team is a well establish group of technology industry professionals with backgrounds in IT Systems, Business Communications and Journalism.

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